Get to Know Us


Note: Job titles and years of service are included as part of an interview process and are accurate at the time of publication.


Ilene MontoyaOver the past 10-plus years, she has been referred to as “always helpful, always a pleasure to work with, and an asset to SouthwestRe.” We’re talking about Ilene Montoya, our outstanding Receptionist and Administrative Assistant in SouthwestRe’s Albuquerque headquarters.

Teresa Moyers, Treasurer and Director of Accounting and Finance, had this to say about her: “Ilene should be very familiar to everyone. As many of our clients’ first contact with the Company, she is always pleasant and patient. She is very knowledgeable about SouthwestRe, and knows exactly where each call should go. I consider her one of the most important people in the Company. I’m very grateful that she is on our team!”

We wanted to learn a little more about her, so we recently asked Ilene about what she did prior to working for SouthwestRe, about her life outside of the workplace, and what she likes best about working here. Enjoy!

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Albuquerque New Mexico, and raised in the North Valley.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

I was 16 when I started to learn how to drive, with the help from my family members and their cars. My first car was a 1969 Chevy Impala, at the age of 18.

Did you go to college or serve in the military? What was the experience like?

I went to a local Community College. At the time it was called Technical Vocational Institute, but now it’s known as Central New Mexico Community College.

What was your first job? What did it teach you

I worked for the Albuquerque Public Schools as a Teacher’s Assistant. I started as a substitute Teacher’s Assistant. I would get a call in the morning letting me know what school I was assigned to. I never knew where I was going the next day, but I was always ready for work. That’s where I learned how important it is to show up for work when expected.

What’s your favorite movie, book or musician, and why?

For many years, my favorite musician has been Carlos Santana. The style of music has changed, but not his talent with his guitar. His passion for life and people is another reason I like him so much.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun?

This year I got to see the ocean for the first time. I plan on going back to the ocean and making it my new “hobby.”

What things are most important to you at this point in your life? Why?

My family is the most important thing to me. I have a big family, and I don't see most of them all the time, but it sure is nice when we all get together.

What's the best thing about working here?

Jim Smith is the best thing about working here. He provides all of the employees with jobs, and the best benefits I have ever had anywhere I have ever worked before. Thank you, Jim, for taking such good care of your employees. It is greatly appreciated!

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I worked for a non-profit called Catholic Charities for 15 years. It was very community based, and provided adult education and child care to refugees, the homeless, and single women with children. I did everything needed in the offices, and also what was needed for the building.

How did you come to work for SouthwestRe?

I saw an advertisement for a receptionist in the Albuquerque Journal. So I sent in my resume, and got an interview. I was sitting down writing a thank you note for the interview when I got a call. I was offered the job, and have been here ever since February 2007.
What do you contribute to SouthwestRe? Experience? Knowledge? Insight? All of the above?

All of the above!! Thank you SouthwestRe for all the great years of employment! It is a true privilege to work at SouthwestRe.

Thank you for all that you for everyone at SouthwestRe, Ilene!


Coleena AguileraIf you have ever called us here at SouthwestRe, you have likely been greeted by the voice of Coleena Aguilera. Although she is officially a Quality Control Specialist for our Casualty Administration department in our Albuquerque headquarters, she is also the smooth and professional voice you hear on the many recordings provided by our phone system. Without a doubt, Coleena is “the voice of SouthwestRe.”

In September, Coleena celebrated her 12th anniversary with the Company. Over the years, she has received many awards for providing outstanding customer service. One of those was the “SouthwestRe Superstar” award, which she received last year after a client wrote: “Coleena has been a great help. She responds instantly to queries, questions and requests. It’s huge to be able to get answers back to our dealer partners so fast, and it’s down to her fast and thorough responses. What a great job she is doing for us."

Tammy Haygood, Director of Casualty Administration, had this to say about her: “Coleena is a true gem! Coleena wears many hats in the Casualty Administration department, and handles that very well. She is extremely organized, committed to her responsibilities, and is always wearing a smile when assisting her assigned agents and/or customers. I can always count on her. She’s a great asset to the Casualty Administration department and to SouthwestRe!”

We wanted to learn a little more about the woman behind the voice, so we asked Coleena to participate in a short Q&A session with us.  Enjoy!

Where were you born and raised?

I was was raised in Ventura, California, and moved to Albuquerque in July 2005.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? Who taught you, and what was your first car like?

My mother taught me to drive a standard when I was 15 years old. She said if I learned to drive on a standard, I could drive anything. My very first car was an older Chevy Malibu, which was my high school graduation present.

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

My first job was during a school district summer program between 8th and 9th grade. We would have classes in the morning, and do odd jobs around the school in the afternoon. I learned the value of having good work ethic, and about the need to work hard to reach your goals.

Are you married or in a relationship? How long? How did the two of you meet?

I have been with my "other half,” Miguel, for about 18 months. We were set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, and have been inseparable ever since April Fools’ Day, 2016.

Do you have any children? What are their names?

I have two children and two grandchildren. My son Victor is 27, and works for T-Mobile. He and his wife Karlie have my granddaughter London, 4, and my grandson Sebastian, 11 months. My daughter Tanya is 22, and works for Embassy Suites.

What's your favorite movie?

My favorite movie is “Beaches.” I love the friendship story!

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun?

I love spending as much time as possible with the grandkids.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life? Why?

At this point in my life the most important thing is being with family and actually "living & enjoying" life.

What's the best thing about working here?

The great people! I started working here one month after moving to Albuquerque, and have met wonderful people that have become close, like a surrogate family for my kids and I.

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I worked at a clinic in California doing medical billing.

How did you come to work for SouthwestRe?

Before moving to Albuquerque, I submitted resumes to a few different companies. One was to the temp company that SouthwestRe used 12 years ago - the rest is history.

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe? Experience? Knowledge? Insight? All of the above?

Experience. I have worked in a few different departments during the last 12 years, and have a bit of understanding of the many different sides of the company.

Thank you, Coleena! You set a great example for all of us at SouthwestRe!

Rick Schneider | CLAIMS MANAGER

Rick SchneiderOne of the great things about our “Get to Know Us” employee profiles is that we ourselves get to learn a lot more about the people we work with every day. Rick Schneider, recently promoted to Manager of our Dallas-area Claims Department, is a huge case in point. We expected that he knew a lot about cars, car repair, and providing great customer service. That’s his job after all. What we didn’t expect to find out is that he’s also an expert musician who has seen the band RUSH a whopping 39 different times! Whether or not you’re as big a RUSH fan as he is, we think you’ll love learning more about Rick. Enjoy!

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in what we called the "East side" of Detroit, Michigan (Grosse Pointe, to be exact). I moved to Texas in April of 1981, settled here in the Dallas area, and I have never looked back. (I did "turn the lights out" when I left though.)

Please describe a person or event from your life/experiences that had a profound effect on you.

I actually got to jam with Ted Nugent as he sat in with my band. He was amazing (not only as a "superstar" guitarist) but he is very down to earth and treated us like we were old pals the whole time! Too bad we didn't have camera phones back then. I did get his autograph though.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

I took mandatory Drivers Education in high school at 15, and got my license when I turned 16. I couldn't wait to get my first car, which was a '70 Chevy "junker" that my brother said "don't buy it!" (Alas, I didn't listen to him. If I only knew then what I know now!)

Did you go to college or serve in the military? What was the experience like?

No, I have not served. However, I have the utmost respect for those that have and still do serve. After high school, I attended Mechanics school at night while I turned wrenches at a Chevy dealer during the day.

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

I was a Dishwasher/Buffet Server at a "retirement" Hotel in Detroit when I was 16-ish. I learned to listen to and do things how the boss wants things done. I befriended the cook/boss (who no one else seemed to get along with) and learned how to present a dish to make it appetizing (even when the food may not be of the highest quality). His advice still works on many levels even today!

Are you married or in a relationship? How long? How did the two of you meet?

I'm married to Kimberly Moon, for almost 20 years now. We met because her band was looking for a drummer. After I joined up, we actually played at our own wedding reception (a couple of years later, that is)!

Do you have any children? What are their names?

None, but I have two cats that I adore and spoil accordingly.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun? Do you play an instrument?

I still enjoy playing the drums and electric guitar. I customize everything to suit my own taste. I also read as much as I can when the time allows, and I have even tried my hand at writing occasionally.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life? Why?

My career has seemed to go in many directions, but has still somehow always ended up on the same path. I wanted to be a musician, but my mom said "you need a real job.” So I decided to become a mechanic, because GM was one of the biggest companies in the world at the time. "Job security" I thought, (and the rest is, well... continuing). I'm very grateful for all of it.

What’s the one thing that you wish people knew about or understood better about SouthwestRe?

Our claims staff are all really very friendly, helpful people. In spite of the fact that we have to deny claims from time to time.

What's the best thing about working here?

Again, it's the people. Everyone at SouthwestRe are professionals who take pride in their jobs. Also, some of my dearest friends work here.

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I owned a small Music Shop (in-between my previous and current "assignments" here at SouthwestRe). It was always kind of a dream of mine.

How did you come to work for SouthwestRe?

I have actually worked at SouthwestRe twice. The first time was in Underwriting/Product Development for almost three years, and now I'm back "home" in Claims for a little more than that at present. I worked with several of my current co-workers at First Extended Service Corp. for many years prior to both of these experiences. They were very gracious to lead me here (both times).

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe? Experience? Knowledge? Insight? All of the above?

If I may say... All of the above.  I have been in and out of the car business throughout my entire working life. I feel I have gained "all of the above" by working at Dealers, Warranty companies, even factories.

Thank you, Rick! While it doesn’t look like RUSH is going to go on tour soon, we really hope you get to see them at least one more time to make it an even 40 concerts!


Teresa Moyers

She has been referred to as SouthwestRe’s “Rock of Gibraltar,” and recently celebrated her 18th anniversary with the Company. Of course, we’re talking about Teresa Moyers, SouthwestRe’s Treasurer and Director of Accounting and Finance. As you might expect from her title, Teresa’s many responsibilities include cash management, accounts payable and receivable, quarterly loan/dividend requests, reconciliations related to reinsurance companies, financials,  audits, and agent commission payments. Her position requires careful timing to ensure that her multiple (often simultaneous) deadlines are met, but she enjoys the challenge presented in timing everything just right.

According to Bill Bigley, SouthwestRe’s Chief Financial Officer, “Teresa Moyers is always willing to help out wherever the need arises, in a high quality, professional manner. It is a privilege to work with such a talented group of accountants, and at the top of that list is Teresa. She has a great depth of knowledge, and superior management skills.”

When asked what she enjoys most about working at SouthwestRe, Teresa said it’s the great people that she has worked with over the past 18 years. “SouthwestRe feels like family to me.” We recently asked Teresa to tell us a little bit about herself and her background, and how she came to work for SouthwestRe:

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Amarillo and grew up in Canyon and went to Canyon high school and West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M) in Canyon.

Please describe a person or event from your life/experiences that had a profound effect on you.

My mother was the greatest influence in my life - she was the most patient and caring person I've ever known.  She taught me to be strong when necessary, but always fair and understanding.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

I took driving lessons at 15, and got my license at 16.  The first car that was actually MINE was a ‘69 AMC Javelin.  It was a cool car, but I had to beat the corroded battery cables every morning, and had to park where I didn't have to back up - reverse didn't work!!

Did you go to college or serve in the military? What was the experience like?

I went to college in my hometown, so I never got to live in the dorm.  I still regret that, but I did become an ATO (Alpha Tau Omega) “Little Sister.”

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

My first real job outside of burger flipping and hotel room cleaning was at the souvenir shop in Palo Duro Canyon.  Not only was this a beautiful drive to make every morning, but I met people from all over the world that had come to see the canyon and watch the production of Texas (an outdoor musical) that was done in the amphitheater at the bottom of the canyon.  It really made me realize how much we take our everyday surroundings for granted.  I try to not do that now!

Are you married or in a relationship? How long? How did the two of you meet?

I’ve been married to David for 18 years. We met when someone on the baseball team he was coaching hit me in the head with a baseball.

Do you have any children? What are their names?

I have three kids, two stepsons, and five grandkids:

Jenna, who lives in Albuquerque with her husband Miguel, a Firefighter. Their children (my grandkids) are Bella (8) and Xavier (6).

Eric, who lives in Lubbock, Texas, and is an Assistant Store Director for United Supermarkets.

Lauren, who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, and is a Special Ed. Teacher who teaches Pre K-8.

My stepson, Dustan, who lives in Idalou, Texas with his wife Marianna, and their children (my grandkids) Lily (11),  Peytan (8), and Kelbi (3).

And my stepson, Aaron, who lives in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun? Do you play an instrument?

My kids and grandkids are my favorite hobby.  Any time I can spend with them is what I want to be doing.  I also have two West Highland White Terriers (Westies) that are like my kids.  I've played the piano since I was eight, and still enjoy doing that to relax.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life? Why?

My family is the most important to me.  Since I've lost my mom, I've realized that life is too short to take any of it for granted, so I want to spend all the time I can with them.

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I left Texas to come to Albuquerque, and started working here in March, 1999.  Prior to that, I worked at a local small town bank for 11 years.

What’s the one thing that you wish people knew about or understood better about SouthwestRe?

I wish everyone could see what a family we are.

What's the best thing about working here?

Besides the people, one of the best things about this place is that it's constantly evolving.  When I started, there was just credit and A&H (Accident & Health) with FESC (First Extended Service Corporation) service contracts . . Look how far we've come!

How did you come to work for SouthwestRe?

I moved to Albuquerque in February, 1999, because my husband was transferred from the oil field in west Texas.  I applied to an ad for an accountant in the Albuquerque newspaper, and came out for an interview on a Saturday.  I interviewed with Kelly Westlake and Rick Olmstead and the controller at the time - she hired me on the spot.  One of the best things that ever happened to me!! In March, I had been here 18 years!!

SouthwestRe is a leader in our Industry. What do you contribute our success to?

As I said earlier, this company has changed and grown tremendously over the past 18 years.  I contribute that to the insight of Jim (Jim Smith, our founder and CEO), and the knowledgeable and experienced people that work here - past and present.

Thank you, Teresa! Everyone has a favorite story about how they met their wife, husband, or partner, but we think that yours is one of the best ever. We hope it didn’t hurt too much when that baseball hit you!


Jennifer Aprile

If you were to visit our Dallas-area office building, the very first person you would likely meet would be our ace receptionist, Jennifer Aprile. An 11-year veteran of SouthwestRe, Jennifer wears a lot of hats around here, and while “Receptionist” may be her job title, our “Jenn-of-all-trades” does anything and everything necessary to keep us running like a well-oiled machine.

On any particular day, you might find Jennifer attending to the needs of an important meeting, repairing a copier, or climbing a stepladder to change a fluorescent light.

In addition to all that, Jennifer processes all mail and shipping and receiving, assists our HR department in Albuquerque by distributing and collecting benefit forms and other employee paperwork, prepares food for our monthly office birthday celebrations, and coordinates our employee appreciation events and annual office holiday parties.

We recently sat down with Jennifer to learn more about her, and to find out what she enjoys most about working here, and what she likes to do in her spare time. (Hint: she always seems to be working.)

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and lived in Rio Rancho for eight years. Then we moved to DeSoto, Texas, and I’ve been in this area ever since.

Why did you move to Texas?

My dad got a job with the Super Collider. He was head project manager, until President Clinton killed it. At a very young age, I learned way too much about protons, neutrons, and all that.

I know you have a long commute. Where do you live now?

Red Oak. It’s about 50 miles each way to work. It’s on the outskirts of Waxahachie.

What do you like about living there? Is it pretty?

Yes. I live more in the country. There are farms. There’s a farm behind me, and there’s a farm down the road. There are neighborhoods, but there are also people who have 10-plus acres all around. I’ve got my goats behind me.

You have goats?

They belong to my neighbor, but they know I’ll feed them, so when they see me they come running.

Do you have any pets?

I have two dogs. They’re Yorkiepoos. Yorkie/poodle mixes. They’re little dogs that look like poodles, but they’re more on the Yorkie side. My boy is Teddy, and my little girl is Mia Bella. My ebony and ivory.

Do you have any hobbies?

I’m really big into photography, and love to take pictures whenever I can. I have a very big camera collection. I have probably 10-15 cameras, if not more. I have two or three underwater cameras, and some better, professional ones. I also enjoy arts and crafts.

Do you play an instrument?

I play the oboe, although I have not played it in years.

Was this for high school band?

I was in the band in high school, but started in intermediate school. In high school I did all of the marching, even though I did not play an instrument while marching, because I marched with flags. But I do still know how to play the oboe, although heaven knows when I’ll get the chance to play one again.

Do you enjoy any particular sports?

I like playing soccer and hockey. I went to Europe at the beginning of high school to play soccer on a traveling soccer team that did tournaments in England, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. 

I enjoy going to Dallas Stars games. I am not your typical girl who sits there quietly at the games. I am up and cheering when they’re fighting each other. I’m from a very big hockey family.

Have you had any interesting vacation experiences that you would like to share?

A few years ago we went to Cape Cod, and one night someone threw a cigarette in the mulch outside our hotel room. I turned on the bathroom light and fan, and the smoke from outside came rushing in. The fire alarm went off, the outside wall of our bedroom burned down, and everything got smoke damaged. Massachusetts is banned from ever being visited again.

I do want to go to Italy, because that’s the homeland. I’d probably go back to see where my grandmother was from, and my dad’s side of the family. My grandmother was born in Italy, and immigrated in the early 1900s. I’ve got my whole family tree mapped out.

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

My first unofficial job was as a nanny in the summertime, which taught me responsibility and how to care for others. My first real job with a paycheck was at Olive Garden. It taught me how to work with people and customers.

How did you come to work for SouthwestRe?

My friend, Kevin, worked here at the time. One of the Payment ladies had just resigned, and they were shorthanded and in need of someone right away. He told me about the job opening, and gave my information to Jamie Jerabek (current Vice President of Underwriting and Product Development). Jamie called me, I went in for an interview, did my typing test the same day, and the next week I started. This was in 2005. October will mark my 12th year with the Company.

What was your first job here?

It was me and another girl, calling and making payments over the phone. The shop would send an invoice, we would review it, and make sure all of the information was correct. If everything was correct, we called and gave a credit card number over the phone. And if it was wrong, we called and told them what was wrong and asked them to redo it.

So what do you contribute here at SouthwestRe?

Knowledge about how all of the departments work, and the different processes. I’m the stocker. I’m the supply orderer. I’m the shopper. I’m mailing and shipping. I do all of the easy lightweight maintenance. I’m the Executive Assistant, the Administrative Assistant, and the HR Assistant. I wear 20 million hats.

What is the best thing about working here?

I would say the people. They are kind of like a second family to me now. So many people have been here for years and years. We have a good mixture of people to learn from, and we’re always willing to help each other out.

Thank you, Jennifer! We appreciate everything you do for all of us here at SouthwestRe! You are the best!


Jamie Barr

Jamie Barr should be a very familiar name to most of the agents and dealers who work with us at SouthwestRe. If you have received a sales report from us recently, there’s a good chance it came from Jamie. If you have visited our booth at a trade show, or have attended one of our Agent Seminars, you have probably seen Jamie rushing around to make sure that everyone has what they need when the need it, before, during, and after the event. From training clients about the ins and outs of OLÉ, to “Where can I get a parking voucher?”, Jamie has the answers you need before you even knew you were going to ask a question.

Jamie recently celebrated five years with SouthwestRe, and the following Q&A with her was published in our employee newsletter. We are sharing it here, because we think you will enjoy learning more about this remarkable woman who does so much for our Company, our agents, and our clients.

What city, state did you grow up in?

I grew up in Albuquerque, NM—my family moved to New Mexico from Oregon in 1969 for my father’s job with the University of New Mexico. My mother thought we had landed on the moon, but we all grew to love New Mexico very quickly.

What were you doing before coming to SouthwestRe and how did you learn of an employment opportunity here?

My first career was in educational administration at Central New Mexico Community College. After that, I was lucky to be able to stay home with my children when they were young, while also lending a hand with family businesses of various sorts. In late 2011, I decided to rejoin the paid workforce. I signed up with Accounting Principles (a staffing agency), and they sent me immediately to SouthwestRe. I literally dropped off my paperwork, and was sent to meet Lorraine Wall (Director of Casualty Administration) ten minutes later. I was a temp for three months before becoming an official employee in February 2012.

What was the title of your first position with SouthwestRe?

Lorraine hired me as a Quality Control Specialist. She was not worried that I did not have a lot of automotive background, so I decided to give it a try. After 2 1/2 years of constant learning in CasAdmin, there was an opening in Sales & Marketing/Client Services. I’ve been working in Sales & Marketing since September 2014.

Tell us a little about your current position, what are your primary responsibilities?

My current position is Sales & Marketing Coordinator, reporting to Carmen Torres (VP of Sales & Marketing). My primary responsibilities start with working with new agents: getting them signed up with SouthwestRe, and helping with orientation to our products and overall procedures. I also coordinate logistics for trade shows, other agent events, and communications. In addition, I provide a long list of reports to our agents and dealers every month, and handle a fair amount of troubleshooting. I am a backup for Client Services activities as well.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging part of my job is prioritizing. Everything needs to be done as soon as possible, and sometimes I feel like I’m always behind.

What do you enjoy most about working at SouthwestRe?

I am continually surprised by how much I enjoy and appreciate my job. I never saw myself working in the automotive industry, so it is surprising to me how much I like learning about all of the different aspects of our business. I really appreciate all of the people I work with, both here in our office, as well as our agents out in the field. Like others have said, I have never worked in a place where people in so many different positions take personal responsibility for their work and their part of the whole process. My family is a little perplexed at how I never mind going to work. I find it challenging and rewarding.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the office?

I have two college-age children who still live with me. Parenting still takes a remarkable amount of time and energy, but I really enjoy the adults they are becoming.

I like to cook, I like movies, I enjoy traveling, and I’m a little outdoorsy. I like to walk a lot, and hike a little. I ride bikes, and swim in the summer. I enjoy most of these activities with my boyfriend Jim, however when Jim says “bike,” he means motorcycle. I will even get on the motorcycle from time to time.

Finally, here are some thoughts about Jamie from her supervisor, Carmen Torres:

Jamie has become a huge asset to both Sales & Marketing and Client Services since transferring from Casualty Administration in late 2014. She significantly contributes to both departments; specifically in the area of agent service and support. There really doesn’t seem to be anything she can’t do, or isn’t willing to try. I love working with Jamie, because she delivers such a high level of professionalism, always goes the extra mile to help our clients, and can be counted on to stay cool under pressure. Thanks for sticking with us for five years Jamie!

Thank you, Jamie! Here’s to another five years!


Randy Reiser

You would have a hard time finding someone as genuinely friendly and outgoing as Randy Reiser, Supervisor of Claims Support and Claim Payments in our Dallas-area office. Always smiling, always upbeat, and always working hard for our contract holders, Randy has been a vital and trusted member of our organization for over 12 years.

 “I have known and worked with Randy for nearly 20 years,” said Brad Crowson, Vice President of Casualty Claims. “I consider him to be one of the most reliable and diligent people I have had the pleasure to work with. Randy has been instrumental in the design and implementation of claims payment procedures and processes.”

We recently met with Randy and asked him to share some details about his career, what he likes to do outside of the workplace, and what he likes best about working at SouthwestRe.

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Big Spring, Texas, and lived in many different places until we settled in Carrollton. Big Spring is still my home away from home.

Describe a person or event from your life/experiences that had a profound effect on you.

I've had a lot of influential people throughout my life that have guided me with words of wisdom. The  key persons I owe a great deal of thanks to for their unconditional support, wisdom, prayers, compassion, and loads of patience, are my uncle Curtis, my grandpa Clarence, my grandmother Wonda, my mom Vickie, and my awesome wife Ingrid. Each one of these individuals has been my support system, my constant star, solid foundation, and great advisors.

Did you go to college or serve in the military?

I attended college at Collin County Community College, Southern Nazarene University, and Texas Tech.

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

My first unofficial job was working for my uncle on his chip route business. He was a franchise owner for Borden Snacks, catering to grocery stores and restaurants. I learned that when you give compassion, respect, and an open ear to everyone you come in contact with, whether a complete stranger or a customer, you’re rewarded with the same level of trust and respect. In doing so, lifelong friendships were made. I've worked in a family-owned Ford dealership, which is where I got most of my automotive knowledge from.

Are you married or in a relationship? How long? How did the two of you meet?

I am married to my beautiful wife Ingrid, and we just celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. I met Ingrid on a Christmas night, and have always said she was the best Christmas gift a man could ask for.

Do you have any children? What are their names? What is your favorite story about them?

Ingrid and I are blessed with two awesome kids, Josh and Hannah. They’re our greatest adventure and the joy of our lives. On the longest of days, their smiles and laughter make everything perfect. I am glad they both inherited their mom's gene pool, and have full heads of hair.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun?

I am big into hunting and fishing. I also enjoy firing up the smoker and filling up the Boss Hog (a.k.a. my smoker) with as much meat as I can fit in it. And I enjoy taking the family on road trips for our family vacations.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life?

The thing that is most important to me at this juncture in my life is my family. Kids grow quick, and before you know it, they’re leaving the nest to start their lives.

What’s the one thing that you wish people knew about or understood better about SouthwestRe?

SouthwestRe is comprised of the most compassionate and hardest-working individuals I've had the pleasure to work with. If I could express one thing to our callers, it’s that all of us at SouthwestRe relate to their concerns. At some point, we've been in their shoes. Most of us are either A.S.E.-certified techs, master techs, former dealer principles, advisors, worked in a family-owned dealership, or were customers who bought a vehicle that included a service agreement.

What’s the best thing about working here?

The best thing about working at SouthwestRe is that I get to work with some of the best folks ever. They say it takes a village to come together to make the impossible possible. We are that village!

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I've worked in the automotive business for over 20 years. After college, I went to work for First Extended Service Corp.

How did you come to work at SouthwestRe?

I was working for First Extended Service Corp. when Gabe Galaviz (SouthwestRe’s Executive Vice President) called, and extended an invitation to come work with him at the Dallas office for SouthwestRe. I had worked with Gabe previously for many years at First Extended Service Corp.

Finally, what do you contribute to SouthwestRe? Experience? Knowledge? Insight? All of the above?

The positions I have held are Claims Adjudicator, Claims Reimbursement Adjudicator, Claims Team Leader, and now Supervisor of Claims Support and Claim Payments. My daily duties can vary: I maintain the claim batches, oversee WEX accounting, account fraud and prevention, ensure payments are adjudicated, and assist with technical system Q&A between the Dallas office and our I.T. team. In addition, I assist the claims adjudicators, help agents and dealer principles with any accounting questions they may have, and make sure payments are paid in a timely manner.

Thank you, Randy, for everything you do for our agents, dealers, and contract holders!

Barbara Budek-Schmeisser | CAS-ADMIN. SUPERVISOR

Barbara Budek-SchmeisserIn December, Barbara Budek-Schmeisser will celebrate her fourth anniversary with SouthwestRe. Initially hired as a QC Specialist, Barbara's outstanding performance was recognized in June when she was promoted to Supervisor of Casualty Administration. While many of our clients, agents, and staff are well-aware of how truly amazing Barbara is, here are some actual quotes about her that say it all:

"If there were a way to add some zeros to the words "thank you" so it could look like a trillion bucks, I would use it. THANK YOU." - Customer letter

"Thank you so much for all of your help. You are a pleasure to work with." - Agent letter

"She has been awesome! She is very patient and understanding, and she makes sure that I know the WHY as well as the HOW of what I am doing. Anytime I have a question, she stops whatever she is working on from her already busy schedule in order to help me." - Staff member, writing to recommend Barbara for SouthwestRe Superstar

To learn more about Barbara, please read on:

Where were you born and raised?

New Castle, Indiana.

Describe a person or event from your life/experiences that had a profound effect on you.

I worked for the same company for nearly 20 years. Thirteen years into my tenure, I became one of that company’s first female manufacturing supervisors (the last female supervisor had retired shortly after I gained employment). I was responsible for the beginning process, which included two departments with a total of 40 employees. Shortly after, I was moved to a Credit Manager position, where a team of five mentors, made up of the CEO, COO, CFO, and a team of consultants, guided me to my professional niche of Accounts Receivable, with an emphasis on policy and procedure, and maintaining long-standing relationships.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? Who taught you? What was your first car like?

The summer of my 15th birthday, I was a driver's education student. One of my fearless teachers was Sam Alford (yes, the father of the former Lobo's head coach Steve Alford, and current coach of the UCLA Bruins). My first car, not my parent's car, was a restored 1974 Red Camaro with a black crushed velvet interior. It was restored by a friend, and I purchased it in 1983.

Did you go to college or serve in the military? What was the experience like?

I have to admit I am a career student. I started college at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, then moved to Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College in West Terre Haute. I finally completed my accounting studies with Indiana Wesleyan. I believe I still am a student of life and my career.

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

Truthfully, my first job was at 13 years old. I was trained by a RN to care for her newborn infant. She taught me that I was more capable at the age of 13 then I thought, and encouraged me to trust my internal instincts.

Are you married or in a relationship? How long? How did the two of you meet?

My husband of 14 years and I met on the Internet 15 years ago. Yes, I made him stay engaged for one solid year to the day before I would marry him. We lived 1000 miles apart, and I finally was willing to move away from family and friends of 40 years.

Do you have any children? What are their names? What is your favorite story about them?

No children. However, I helped my youngest brother and his wife rear my first niece for 2.5 years. She is the joy of my life. My brother says she acts too much like me daily.

What’s your favorite movie, book or musician, and why?

I enjoy most music, with the exclusion of rap. Books are usually educational, biographies, or photography. Movies must have good, clean humor, inspirational, biographies, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Ken Burns specials.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun? Do you enjoy any particular sports, or play an instrument?

I love hiking with a camera strapped to my back. I am a lightweight bodybuilder for my health, not competition. My favorite sport is NASCAR (yes, I am a closet redneck). The instrument I have and still wish to learn is a violin, a gift from my husband. I will learn to play someday. Like I said, I am a career student.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life? Why?

The most important legacy I wish to leave on this little blue ball rotating in space is a positive, joyful attitude in the midst of the unexpected. To look at each day as a new experience full of opportunity, and make a positive difference that will affect generations to come. This is my interpretation of the Greek “Plant a Tree” Proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

What's the one thing that you wish people knew about or understood better about SouthwestRe?

In all my career, finding a company that embodies the definitions of wholesome values and ethics has had its challenges. SouthwestRe is a definition of wholesome values for their customers, partnerships, employees, and families in practice. The ethics and values required to maintain our relationships are high and genuine, with an essence of familiarity, with the bar being lifted higher each year. With such lofty goals, it creates a positive environment for employees, and for individual relationships with our customers, internally and externally.

What's the best thing about working here?

Everyone at SouthwestRe gets along every day. Like I said earlier, the bar is high for everyone, and dignity and respect is part of that. So is fun, and laughter, and enjoyment of the work you do. Even on the stressful days, smiles can be found in the office. Few companies can say that.

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I worked for 20 years for a company that initiated the movable wall industry in my hometown nearly 90 years ago. Then I worked with my husband on academic research up until 2011. From there I was a salesperson for a collection agency, until I obtain my current new professional home with SouthwestRe.

How did you come to work at SouthwestRe? How long have you worked here?

I have worked with SouthwestRe, Inc. for nearly four years. Life and circumstance and Accounting Principles brought me to my new professional family.

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe? Experience? Knowledge? Insight? All of the above?

I hope that I provide to SouthwestRe all my past experience. One is my philosophy of understanding a business from the ground up, and actually experiencing it. Having a full grasp of the intricate daily functions of an individual's job helps gain respect for each function in an organization. People know when you have knowledge of what they do, and what obstacles they face daily.

Thank you, Barbara! We appreciate you taking the time for this Q&A!

Jessica Scyrkels (née Griffith) | SUPERVISOR OF CLIENT SERVICES

Jessica GriffithAn indispensable veteran of SouthwestRe, Jessica Griffith has served the Company for over 14 years. As Supervisor of Client Services, Jessica is responsible for the oversight of her department’s day-to-day operations. This includes working closely with clients and agents to resolve any issues that may arise, and to provide fast and informed answers to any inquiries her department may receive regarding Reinsurance Companies.

We wanted to learn more about Jessica, so she recently agreed to have a Q&A with us:

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Monterey, CA, and raised in Reno, NV. I moved to Albuquerque in 1998.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

I was taught to drive at 17 by my boyfriend (later Husband) who also bought me my first car. It was an Opal, and it cost a total of $75. It then died two weeks later, after I cleaned it up to make it mine with cute seat and steering wheel covers, etc. (Good times.)

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

My first job was at KFC (or was it just Kentucky Fried Chicken then?). I drove there in my Opal for an awesome two weeks, then got back to walking! All that job did was pay me a little money and give me zits!

Are you married or in a relationship? How long? How did the two of you meet?

I am recently engaged. I’m getting married on October 8th to my best friend of 8-1/2 years! I thank God every day that I met him, and that I get to spend the rest of my life with him and his wonderful family.

Do you have any children? What are their names? What is your favorite story about them?

I have three amazing kids! Two boys, 24 and 21, all grown up now and making me so very proud! Also, I have my sweet daughter, Madison, age 7. Yes, I started all over again after being DONE. Then, whoops, I had an awesome chance to do it again. Luckily, they told me "it’s a girl!" Otherwise, I would've been asking "WHY??" Getting to experience raising a daughter is a blessing! One of my greatest accomplishments is being a Mom.

What’s your favorite movie, book or musician, and why?

My favorite movie ever is “The NeverEnding Story.” We bought a puppy that looked like a bald mouse when she was born. We named her Tasia after Fantasia. She’s now 14 and still looks and acts like a puppy!

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun? Do you enjoy any particular sports, or play an instrument?

I really enjoy getting outside to walk. (I try to three times a day.) It gets me away from my desk to regroup. When at home, I enjoy evening and weekend walks with my family in the Petroglyph National Monument. Simply beautiful!

I love having “Girls Day” with my daughter, getting our nails done, jumping at the trampoline park, and having her put makeup on me and herself. Also, I love attending my daughter’s Girl Scout events. She is the unofficial SouthwestRe Girl Scout cookie girl. This year she moved up to Brownie.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life? Why?

100%, it’s my family, friends, and work. I love every aspect of my life!! I’m very lucky and truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my home life and work life! I wouldn't change a thing. (Except maybe winning the lottery! That I could handle!)

What's the best thing about working at SouthwestRe?

We are a family! When I leave home and come here, I feel like I'm at my "other" home. So many people have been here for years and years. Strong bonding and great friendships are going to happen. I am grateful for each and every person that I share this with!

Our agents and clients are the best in the industry, with more joining every month. I enjoy getting to know them and forming a professional relationship of trust and love for what we do.

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I don't remember a time before the Re. This has been, hands down, the best workplace experience of my career. Yes, even better than KFC!

How long have you worked here?

I've been with SouthwestRe for over 14 years. I plan on many, many more years!

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe? Experience? Knowledge? Insight? All of the above?

I feel I contribute strength, motivation and determination. I love to "talk it out" when one of us is blocked or stumped. Having discussions with coworkers can resolve anything! I like to crack jokes to lighten the mood, or crack down to get that project and/or task completed.

Thank you, Jessica! Congratulations to you and your fiancé on your engagement and upcoming marriage!


Tammy HaygoodOver the past 17+ years, Tammy Haygood has worn a lot of hats at SouthwestRe. Now Director of Casualty Administration, Tammy has been a Quality Control Specialist, Setups Specialist, OLÉ Coordinator, and Reinsurance Company Administrator, to name just a few. In fact, Tammy was still in high school when she started with the Company! Even though her title has changed through the years, certain things have remained constant, including the admiration and respect her fellow employees have for her, and Tammy's unwavering dedication to serving our clients and the Company to the very best of her ability.

To learn more about Tammy,  we reached out and asked to have a Q&A with her:

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I absolutely adore where I live!

Please describe a person or event from your life or experiences that had a profound effect on you.

Having my son was the best day of my life! Having a child with special needs has had a profound effect on me and my life. He's taught me how to love unconditionally and how to be patient. As well as what it means to empathize and have true perseverance. He has changed my view on life tremendously and I couldn't do this thing called life without him by my side.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

I went to Driver's Ed. when I was 16 years old.  The first thing I did when taking my driver’s test was run a stop sign. Whoops, there was a tree in the way! In the end, they passed me. Look out drivers!

My first car was an older Volvo.  I don't remember the model year but, man, I thought that car was awesome.

Did you go to college or serve in the military? What was the experience like?

I started working for SouthwestRe when I was a Junior in High School and the rest is history.  My experience has been SouthwestRe! However, in 2014 I studied to become a Real Estate Associate Broker, and became licensed in January of 2015.

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

My first, and only, job has been SouthwestRe. I started out filing and processing the mail, then moved to adjudicating Credit Life and Disability claims, then to data entry of Credit Life and Disability, Property Casualty, First Extended contracts, First Automotive contracts, etc., then to Quality Control, OLE, and Setups, then to processing RIC and Trust Agreements and Credit Acceptance sign ups, then Supervisor of Casualty Administration, and now Assistant Director of Casualty Administration.  I've been fortunate enough to touch many pieces to the company and it's given me a great deal of knowledge and experience.

What is your son's name? What is your favorite story about him?

I have one son and his name is Jason Tyler. He just turned 8 years old. Jason loves water/swimming. When he was 3 years old I took him to a place called Explora. When Jason saw the huge water fountain inside, he must have assumed it was a swimming pool.  He looked at me, looked at the water fountain, looked at me (while I kept saying "don't do it") and then he bolted for the water fountain. HUGE canon ball into the water fountain. I was so embarrassed but he was very happy! We laugh about it quite often.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun? Do you enjoy any particular sports, or play an instrument?

I enjoy rock climbing, hiking, biking, and walks. Anything to do with the outdoors and nature, I'm there. I also enjoy oil painting, puzzles, reading, spending time with my son, family and friends, and simply relaxing.

What’s the one thing that you wish people knew about or understood better about SouthwestRe?

SouthwestRe amazes me! This company has always put its clients and customers first. I think that speaks volumes, and I feel it's one of the many reasons SouthwestRe is a successful and thriving company today.

What's the best thing about working here?

The people, hands down! It's like one big happy family. We have so many wonderful people here, and the wealth of knowledge among us all is phenomenal. I've learned a great deal from many co-workers. The one person that has truly mentored and guided me has been Lorraine Wall. I can't thank her enough.

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

Prior to SouthwestRe, I was attending Manzano High School.

How did you come to work at SouthwestRe? How long have you worked here?

While attending High School, a family friend was employed at SouthwestRe and at that time, the company was needing a part time file & mail clerk. She put in the referral, I started on March 1, 1999, and 17 years later, here I am.

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe?

I honestly believe that having the opportunity to be in many different areas of company over the last 17 years has allowed me to give 110% to this company. This includes experience, knowledge, insight, and then some. I'm ready to learn and contribute more in the coming years.

Thank you, Tammy!


David Zieba

If you took a poll in our Dallas office and asked which of our employees has the most positive attitude, which one performs their job to the point of perfection, and which one is the nicest to work with, David Zieba in Underwriting would be at the top of everyone’s list. David really knows his stuff. If you have ever seen one of our Rate Cards, you know how absolutely complicated they can be. To say that our agent partners and dealers depend upon the accuracy of the information found in our Rate Cards would be an understatement. We can all thank David and his mastery of Excel and unmatched attention to detail for their invariable accuracy and completeness.

In recognition of his outstanding work in Underwriting, David was recently promoted to Underwriting Supervisor, reporting to Jamie Jerabek, VP of Underwriting and Product Development.

“I have had the pleasure of working with David for many years, and his performance has been nothing less than exemplary,” Jamie said. “I think it is no exaggeration to say that he is one of the finest employees in our organization. Please join me in congratulating David on this well-deserved promotion.”

To find out a little more about David, please take a look at the following very interesting Q&A: 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and moved to Plano, Texas when I was ten.

Please describe someone who had a profound effect on you.

My mother is truly a special person. There is not enough room here to thoroughly describe the impact she’s had on my life, nor the love and admiration I have for her. In short, the world is a better place because she’s in it, and I am the man I am today because of her.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

My first foray into driving was crashing through my neighbor’s garage with my dad’s station wagon when I was five (what can I say… you don’t leave a curious 5 year old in a running car by himself, haha). My dad taught me how to drive a car when I was seven (phone book and all), and how to ride motorcycles when I was twelve. I bought my first car when I was fourteen -- a 1982 Toyota Celica GT for $700 -- it was the epitome of a “barn find”. I got a hardship driver’s license at fifteen, and the rest is history.

Did you go to college or serve in the military? What was the experience like?

I am the first person in my family to go to college, and I haven’t served in the military. College was a great experience, and I’m looking forward to going back to finish my degree ASAP (life and financial circumstances put that on hold for a little bit).

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

Technically my first job was as a mechanic’s apprentice when I was thirteen. I worked for my dad’s friend over the summer and I learned a tremendous amount about cars. However, due to child labor laws, haha, my “official” first job was working at an Alzheimer’s nursing home when I was fourteen. I worked in the dining hall during meal times doing a variety of tasks, and I was the Activities Director in between meals. This experience taught me the realities of mortality and how fragile life truly is. Oh, and the stories the residents shared with me about their lives and experiences... priceless!

Do you have any brothers or sisters? What is your favorite story about them?

I have two younger sisters who I absolutely adore. When they were born I was extremely protective of them. So much so that I wouldn’t allow anyone (not even mom or dad) to come into the room when they were sleeping. And I was the only one allowed to bottle feed them (again, I wouldn’t allow even mom or dad in the room).

What's your favorite movie, book or musician, and why?

I don’t usually read books for enjoyment, I read them for necessity. You’ll find me reading a repair manual, or a research paper, before you’ll find me reading for fun. As for movies and musicians, I’m not too picky and enjoy most, but I don’t watch enough movies or listen to enough music to say I have a definitive favorite of either.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun? Do you enjoy any particular sports, or play an instrument?

I love riding my motorcycle. I also enjoy just about anything that involves working with my hands, like turning a block of wood on a lathe into a pen, or machining a custom bracket for my motorcycle, or doing some gunsmith work on my rifle. I play the tuba, I used to play the guitar, and I’m thinking about learning to play the saxophone. I also like to mountain bike, dirtbike, fish, and anything of the sort.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life? Why?

God, family, and friends. The “why” should be self-explanatory. I also love to learn; whether it’s about a new activity or simply gaining additional knowledge about particular subject matter, I believe it’s important to stimulate your mind and expand your knowledge.

What's the best thing about working here?

Hands down the people I get to work with. Whether it’s the mentorship I’ve received from each of my bosses over the last 8 years, or the upper echelon (e.g., Jim Smith and Eddie Eckert) finding ways to take care of the employees, there is a true sense of family here at the Re.

Where did you work prior to SouthwestRe?

I’ve spent most of the last 17 years working in the automotive industry. I’ve done everything from wrenching on cars, managing multiple repair facilities and selling new cars, to working as a DPS State Inspector and writing service.

How did you come to work at SouthwestRe? How long have you worked here?

To be frank, I was starting to burn out and wanted a change. I looked around and found an opening for a claims adjuster in CareerBuilder. It was something I’d never done before, it sounded interesting and challenging, and it was in the automotive industry which is where I had all my experience. I applied, was hired, and 8 years later they still can’t get rid of me, haha.

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe?

I believe the 17 years I’ve worked in this industry, in so many facets, has allowed me to bring a unique level of experience, knowledge and insight. I have an inquisitive mind with an insatiable desire to learn in order to be the best at everything I do.

Thank you for your time, David, and congratulations on your promotion!


Chris BoundsIf you have read our Community Involvement page, you know that Christopher Bounds is the driving force behind our Company's participation in Albuquerque's annual food drive to benefit the Roadrunner Food Bank. Thanks to his leadership and the contributions of our generous staff, SouthwestRe tripled its donations to the food bank last year compared to 2014. We thought that was pretty remarkable, so we asked Chris to participate in a Q&A to learn a little more about him.  

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, and lived there until I was seven. I was raised in Albuquerque, and moved here in 1993 when my dad got a job with Intel.

Please describe someone who had a profound effect on you.

My mom and my dad. They helped me learn to work hard, and always give my 100% in everything I do. Whenever I needed them, they were always there, and they still are.

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

I was 14 when I first learned to drive. My dad taught me, and I had a maroon 2001 Ford Contour.

Did you go to college or serve in the military? What was the experience like?

I went to New Mexico Highlands University, and graduated in 2010 with my Bachelor's degree in Accounting. In 2015, I graduated from Highlands with a Master's degree in Finance. The experience was great. It helped me manage my time and work harder.

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

I worked at McDonald's as a shift manager. It taught me how to make quick decisions, and to make adjustments with my staff or myself fairly quickly.

What's your favorite book?

"The Hazards of Being a Man" is my favorite book, because it taught me how to be a better man in life and in my spiritual life.

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun?

I play city league basketball and city league softball with Greg Hendee (SouthwestRe's VP of Information Technology).

What things are most important to you at this point in your life?

1. Church. This has shaped me into the man I'm supposed to be.

2. Family. Family is so important to me. They have always been there for me.

3. Work. I strive to build my career and help wherever I can to be the best I can be, and continue to learn.

What's the one thing that you wish people knew about or understood better about SouthwestRe?

No matter the circumstances, we work hard for our clients, and we are always striving to better serve them.

What's the best thing about working here?

The people. We have a wonderful staff that's very knowledgeable about the business.

How did you come to work at SouthwestRe? How long have you worked here?

I applied through Accounting Principals. I have worked here five years.

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe?

I feel I bring energy, insight, and a great attitude to SouthwestRe. We have so many bright people at SouthwestRe, so I try to learn as much as I can from people like Greg Hendee, John Cranmore, Bill Bigley, Betty Lyon, Teresa Moyers, Tammy Haygood, William Mendez, Carmen Torres and Jessica Griffith. All have played a huge part in my success here at SouthwestRe.

And of course, Chris is playing an equally huge part in the success of SouthwestRe. Thank you, Chris!


Janet FosterWe recently had a Q&A with Janet Foster, Client Services Administrator in our Albuquerque headquarters. As many of our clients know very well, Janet is one of the hardest-working people in the Company, not to mention one of the nicest and most patient! Read on to learn more!  

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and moved to Albuquerque when I was 11. (That was a long time ago!)
Please describe someone who had a profound effect on you.

My mom. She was always so patient. I guess I inherited some of that from her. People always tell me how patient I am, and I reply "you should have known me before I had kids!"

How old were you when you learned how to drive? What was your first car like?

I didn't learn to drive until I was 18. I learned in driving school. The gory movies they show in Driver's Ed didn't help any. But when I was finally able to handle a car all on my own, I bought a 2-door Plymouth Sport Fury with big fins! What a beautiful car - and a gas hog! But I loved it!

Did you go to college or serve in the military?

After high school, I went to what is now Central New Mexico Community College for accounting for a while. Then I got jobs here and there, and life happened. In 2001 I graduated with honors from Metropolitan School of Court Reporting for Paralegal. What's weird is that the class I hated the most, Contract Law, was sort of where I ended up at, at SouthwestRe. And I love it here!

What was your first job? What did it teach you?

My first job was at Bead World (in Albuquerque). It was my first experience being in a social setting that wasn't school. The people I worked with didn't play games (who's cuter, who's got a boyfriend, who ditched class). It was more a sense of working together to get ahead. We had meetings, made plans, kept our work areas clean, and helped each other meet deadlines.

Do you have any children?

I've got two children. Amy is 32 and Matthew is 23. Matthew is currently serving in the U.S. Navy, and is stationed on the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) in Japan. Amy is currently helping me out a lot at home. I'm very proud of both kids!

What's your favorite movie?

One of my favorite movies is "The Sandlot." It brings back memories of when I was younger and living in Milwaukee. My favorite line is, "you're killin' me, Smalls!"

Do you have any hobbies or anything you do for fun?

For fun, I like to sew, whenever I have a free moment. Now I make quilts.

What things are most important to you at this point in your life?

What's most important is not worrying about the little things, or the past. We can't change the past, so it's best to work on what's here and now. I feel we should make the best decisions we can, and work to make a better future.

What's the one thing that you wish people knew about or understood better about SouthwestRe?

I hope that people know what a dedicated company we are. We're dedicated to each other, and dedicated to our clients. If our clients are happy, then we're happy, and if they're happy they're probably making money, which is a good thing.

What's the best thing about working here?

The best thing about SouthwestRe is the people. We all have one goal, and that's to make SouthwestRe the best, the most reliable, and the most successful company.

How did you come to work at SouthwestRe? How long have you worked here?

I came to work at SouthwestRe after applying for an ad in the newspaper. I interviewed with Dan Stanley, and was thrilled to find out I was hired! This coming April, I will have worked here 15 years.

What do you contribute to SouthwestRe?

I think what I contribute to SouthwestRe is patience. I've learned a lot of things working here, but patience helps so much. You've got to give others a chance to speak their mind, get ideas across, or tell their side of the story to help them resolve what's bothering them. This means listening, and listening requires patience.

Words to live by. Thank you, Janet!


David MayPlease join us in congratulating David May, who recently celebrated his 5th anniversary with SouthwestRe. David is General Counsel for the Company.

David spent his early years on the plains of Kansas, and eventually made his way to Des Moines, Iowa to attend Drake University Law School. After a brief spell in Minneapolis with a small lender, David moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area in 1986 while working for the Associates Financial companies.

Just prior to joining SouthwestRe, David was General Counsel for another company. It was in this capacity that he met Jim Smith, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SouthwestRe. Jim mentioned that he was looking for a General Counsel, and in a short time they worked on a plan to have him move to SouthwestRe.
As General Counsel, David handles all regulatory, compliance, and litigation issues. He also reviews all new statutes that may be passed by the various states, and analyzes how they affect the marketing of our products.

In his spare time, David plays a little golf, and takes long walks with his wife and three collies.

Congratulations, David!


William_Mendez_PicCongratulations to William Mendez, who recently celebrated his 10 year anniversary with SouthwestRe. William started in Casualty Administration as a Quality Control Specialist. His current title is Setup Specialist.

Each month an agent will bring in a new dealership and will want this business to begin selling quickly. It can be challenging to meet this expectation, and other departments will need to be involved to work toward the common goal of completing new locations within 24 hours.

Once the Client Services and Underwriting departments have completed their steps in the process, William is able to enter the information into Toro so the cost for the contracts can be provided.

After a setup has been approved, dealers and agents are then able to use our OLÉ website to obtain pricing, eligibility and to enter and print contracts. William also assists with educating dealers and agents on the use of OLÉ, and helps them generate reports on a routine and as-needed basis.

William believes that each department at SouthwestRe shares a common bond to help each other in their work. This makes a difficult day a better day because of the helpfulness of other employees. William enjoys sharing the knowledge he’s gained on both Toro and OLÉ, and is happy that he is able to serve as a resource.

Outside of work, William enjoys playing a round of golf.

Director of Casualty Administration Lorraine Wall said that William’s attention to detail is extraordinary. “He has the patience of an angel,” Lorraine said. That's just one of the traits that makes him very popular with the agents. Everyone wants to talk to William, because he will take the time to explain in great depth until he feels comfortable that they totally understand the situation.

Some of the words William’s coworkers in Casualty Admininistration use to describe William are: knowledgeable, helpful, dedicated, loyal, sharp-dressed, entertaining, and of course “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

We greatly appreciate William for all that he does for Casualty Administration and SouthwestRe.


Wayne HarkinsBefore coming to SouthwestRe, Wayne worked in the office supply business and also spent time as an Acura salesman. It was through an ad in the Albuquerque Journal that Wayne learned of an opening with us. Though he playfully refers to his title as “Lord of the Mailroom," on paper he is our Facilities Coordinator.

Wayne’s primary responsibilities include processing the mail, maintaining office supplies and equipment, providing transportation for guests, moving workstations, ordering furniture, making repairs, and delivering overall handyman support. According to Wayne, the most enjoyable aspect of his job is interacting with his co-workers, “I work with the best people in the world." 

Wayne was born in Calhoun, Georgia and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 28 years, Karen. A proud Grandfather, he also has three beautiful great-grandchildren! Another great love of Wayne’s is music - he was a professional musician/singer for over 30 years.
Congratulations, Wayne!

Brenda Abeyta (née Marquez) | 20 YEARS WITH SOUTHWESTRE

Brenda_Marquez Brenda Marquez was born in the little coal mining town of Leadville, Colorado and grew up in Raton, New Mexico. Before moving to Albuquerque, she worked at the racetrack in Raton. After the move, she took a job at Peter Piper Pizza where she organized children’s parties and also made pizza. Next, Brenda worked for Deluxe check printers until they closed down their Albuquerque office. Brenda decided not to relocate to their Phoenix office because being close to her family was more important.

In-between jobs, Brenda went to school for a Legal Assistance degree. Later, when working at Century Builders, Brenda learned of an opportunity at SouthwestRe through a temporary agency.  Brenda was so impressed with SouthwestRe that even though she was not hired after her first interview, she continued to call twice a month looking for a position to open up. Her perseverance paid off when former Vice President Jackie Fewell called her and said “come in, let’s get you hired”.

Brenda’s first position involved Credit Underwriting Administration and data entry. She then moved to the Credit Claims Department where she worked as an Administrator of Claims, a Credit Examiner and then lead. Eventually Brenda was promoted to Claims Supervisor and started overseeing advanced planning. In 2005 Brenda was promoted to Claims Manager with both credit processing and advanced planning under her supervision.

Brenda’s current title is Claims Administration Manager. She manages the processing and adjudication of several types of claims (GAP, credit, IUI, advanced planning, aftermarket, VSC check payment processing and home warranty check payment processing). Brenda also manages advanced planning administrative duties, processes IUI setups, IUI premiums, audits, reporting, reconciling,  customer service, credit processing/cancels and provides back-up for her team.

One of the more challenging aspects of Brenda’s job involves assisting bereaved callers. Brenda said that no matter how many years she has done this job, it can still make her tear up when she gets a call from someone that has recently lost a loved one. Brenda’s department routinely receives calls from insureds that are struggling with a disability, planning a funeral or dealing with the loss of a job. While these calls can be difficult, there is also a nice feeling you get from helping someone during a difficult time.

Brenda feels like SouthwestRe has played a great part in helping her raise her children and feels blessed to work for a company that is family-oriented. Brenda says that what she enjoys most about working for SouthwestRe are all of the employees that she has worked with – past and present. She appreciates her staff, Mary Garcia and Nicole Miller, and what a great team they have become.  Over the last couple of years, Brenda has also had the pleasure of working with various Addison employees and has learned a lot from them.

Outside of work, Brenda loves spending time with her family, her grandbaby and her dogs. She also likes motorcycle riding, camping, fishing, hiking and barbequing.


buster_martin“I was born into the automobile field,” said Buster Martin, Manager of Claims for SouthwestRe’s Claims Department in Addison, Texas. “My dad worked at Ford Motor Company when I was born. He worked on the assembly line in Dallas, and if I didn’t have to go to school, I’d get taken down there and watch the cars get built.”

One of the hardest-working people at SouthwestRe, Buster leaves for work at 5:30 in the morning and usually doesn’t get back home until 7:00 at night. That makes for a long day at the office, but Buster wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I do have a life outside of work, even though they see me work so much and think I don’t,” said Buster. 
When Buster was hired by Gabe Galaviz in 2001, there were only five people working in the Claims Department, which was located in a small office in the Bank One building in North Dallas.

“We were in an office you could just about put into this room,” said Buster, looking around the far-from-large conference room in SouthwestRe’s Addison office building. “I started out the first year adjudicating claims.”

Over the years, Buster progressed from Claims Adjudicator to Claims Supervisor, to his current position as Manager of Claims. On a daily basis, he oversees the Claims Adjudicators and Supervisors in the Auto and Home Warranty Departments. Buster says this is the least difficult part of his job, and gives credit to the quality staff he manages. He also handles Agent and Dealer calls, as well as customer-escalated calls concerning coverage, claims procedures, and denial of claims.

When Buster first came to work at SouthwestRe, he had recently hurt his back playing softball and didn’t realize the seriousness of his condition. 

“I took a swing at a ball and missed, and twisted around too far,” he said. “That one was going to be the home-winning hit, and it needed to go out of the park. That’s where I intended to send it, but I didn’t make it. I missed it, and I heard my back go ‘crunch’.”

“I thought I’d just twisted it a little, so it was four months before I went to the hospital and found out it was broken,” Buster said. The doctor said, ‘You’re a lucky man.’ My disc had gone into my spinal cord.”
Up until that time, Buster played softball every chance he got. “From the time I was 21 to the time I was 35, I was heavily into softball,” he said. “Co-ed teams at church, co-ed teams at work, a men’s league, you name it. If it was a softball game, I was ready to play it.”

Buster grew up in Garland, Texas, and currently lives with his wife, Kathy on three acres way out in the country. “One of the things I’ve been working on now going on 11 years, and still haven’t finished, is getting my place cleaned up the way I want,” he said. “I’ve got all this land out there, and it was in terrible, terrible shape when I moved in. I’ve been working on clearing it, cutting trees, and redoing. Now we’re redoing the house.”

One of Buster’s favorite hobbies is woodworking. “I like to build things,” he said. “I built a dining room table, and my wife has had me build shelves and bookcases.” 
Another interesting hobby he has is collecting owl and motorcycle trinkets.  “I have owl figurines,” he said. “I’ve got a stuffed owl hanging on the wall, and I’ve got just about any type of motorcycle trinket you can think of.”

Buster also enjoys getting on his home computer to play computer games, or to design cars with the help of a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program. “I can waste a whole day playing a computer game,” he said. “And I dabble in car designs,” he said. “Maybe one day, I’ll send one in to one of the manufacturers.” 

Buster and his wife, Kathy, will soon celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary. At only age 62, he has five children, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

“You can imagine where some of my time goes,” he said.

Whenever Buster can find time for himself, he gets on his motorcycle and rides the Texas back roads for hours on end. “I will just get on the motorcycle and go riding,” he said. “If it’s on a day when I don’t have much to do, I’ll spend four or five hours on it. I’ll go and take different roads, back roads, country roads. What I’m doing is riding around planning for retirement. I’ll see a car that I think I might want to fix up, and I’ll watch it every now and then and see if the owners are doing anything with it. If not, I’ll stop by and put a note on the door that I’m interested in their old car and to give me a call.”

Buster came close to retiring this year, but the urging of his supervisors convinced him to postpone it. 

“Well, them and the IRS,” he said, referring to the reduced Social Security benefits the government provides when someone retires at age 62. “I decided I wasn’t going to give the IRS that much.”

“You can count on it that at age 65 I will not work anymore,” he said. “At age 65, I will have cars lined up waiting to be restored. That’s what I’ll put my time into. Restoring cars and selling one every now and then.”

Just as it is now, even Buster’s retirement years will be occupied by automobiles and automobile repair. We at SouthwestRe are just happy that we have three more years of Buster’s expertise to rely upon to help serve our agents, dealers and their customers.

Who knows? Since we talked him out of retirement once, maybe we’ll be able to talk him out of it again when he turns 65 three years from now. One can only hope.


Betty Lyon

Congratulations to Betty Lyon in our Albuquerque office on her promotion to SouthwestRe's Director of Reinsurance Accounting! Betty joined SouthwestRe in 2001, and was most recently our Assistant Director of Reinsurance Accounting. Betty succeeds Isabel Gonzales, who has accepted a position with another company.

Bill Bigley, CFO of SouthwestRe, had these words to say about Betty:

“Betty has over 30 years of accounting and tax preparation experience. She has been a key contributor to the success of our reinsurance operations. Her wealth of experience and understanding of our industry, as well as her extensive knowledge of all aspects of reinsurance accounting, will help ensure that SouthwestRe will continue to build on the success and reputation we have already achieved in the reinsurance arena.”

Prior to joining SouthwestRe, Betty held several management positions with other companies. She is a graduate of the University of Albuquerque, and has studied accounting and taxation at the University of New Mexico.

Way to go, Betty!


Margaret Newton

Margaret Newton is an Albuquerque native, and before coming to work for SouthwestRe, she worked at an auto dealership as a parts secretary. Margaret’s duties involved ordering and maintaining auto part stock. Margaret learned about vehicle warranty claims and processing when the warranty administrator at her dealership went on vacation and Margaret had to fill in, which eventually led to a promotion to that very position in 1981.

Later on, Margaret was working as an office manager of a recycling plant when she discovered an opportunity in claims payment processing at SouthwestRe. Margaret is now a Check Processor in the Casualty Administration department, responsible for the check runs for Home Warranty, VSC claims, Tire and Wheel claims and the VSC cancellations. Margaret also does a lot of data entry work. Margaret feels like her co-workers always come together as a team, and that’s what she appreciates most about her job.

One of the more challenging aspects of Margaret’s job is keeping track of check payments, that they are paid to the correct payee, and that they get sent to the correct address. There are times when a payee will move after a check has been sent, or will have the wrong address on file and then it’s up to Margaret to make sure that those checks reach the appropriate destination.

Away from work, Margaret enjoys crafts and working in her yard. Margaret is a big fan of football, the Dallas Cowboys in particular – she saw them play in the old Texas stadium back in 1986. Margaret also enjoys watching the NCAA basketball finals and the World Series on television.